Toronado - Sussex Stakes
Toronado - Sussex Stakes

Watch Toronado winning the Sussex Stakes (Group 1)

(Image : RTE - Footage : Racing UK)


Goodwood, Turf, 1609m

31 July 2013

Mick Goss - Summerhill CEO
Mick Goss - Summerhill CEO

Mick Goss

Summerhill CEOJust this past weekend, we witnessed the victory in the Darley Irish Oaks (Gr.1) of a filly called Chicquita, who arrived at The Curragh the best-performed maiden in Europe. The problem was not talent, it was a waywardness which had seen her depart the track at right angles on her previous start, after claiming the lead in the Group One in France. This is where jockeyship counts, and in the event, Johnny Murtagh made no mistake in the closing stages of the Oaks.

There is little knowing what lies ahead for this talented daughter of Montjeu, because for her, her Classic supremacy marked just the end of the beginning. If pedigree counts, and those who’ve made it in this family are anything to go by, Chiquita is in for a long and satisfying ride. Among others, hers is the illustrious family of Alexandrova, Magical Romance, Dunka, Doyen, etc. Classic performers of note, and from a Summerhill point of view, she’s a close relative of Golden Sword, who joined the roster to much acclaim last season.

Wednesday at Goodwood, the Sussex Stakes (Gr.1) saw the coming together of three of the best three-year-olds in the world. Dawn Approach is officially the highest rated racehorse on the planet at the moment, Declaration of War was a commendable winner of the Queen Anne Stakes (Gr.1), while Toronado had run Dawn Approach to the shortest of short heads on their previous meeting in the St James Place Stakes (Gr.1) at Royal Ascot.

The betting suggested though, that it really was a match between Dawn Approach and Toronado, and that’’s the way it turned out. Both horses need careful handling, though on the evidence so far, it seems that Dawn Approach (outside of his Derby effort) is the more straightforward, and at least Kevin Manning had him worked out. Toronado on the other hand, had been asked to run variously at the front, in the middle, and at the back, and nobody outside of Richard Hannon and Richard Hughes had any inkling of what tactics they would adopt.

In the event, Dawn Approach settled comfortably into third, while Toronado settled in the rear, tracking Declaration Of War. The pace was on from the start, and as they neared the bend to the Goodwood straight, it picked up to the speed of sound. Dawn Approach grabbed the initiative, surging away and looking the winner a long way. On Toronado, Richard Hughes was as still as a corpse, and as they went through the two furlong pole, I was beginning to think he was riding him “crook”. Still he sat, and it wasn’t until they hit the final furlong that he set Toronado loose. I’ve seen many great races in my time, but I can honestly say, this one matched the best of them, as Toronado swept relentlessly by the champion, to beat him going away by the best part of a half to three quarters of a length. It was breath-taking, the kind of race that makes people feel good, and the sport seem grander.

Again, from a Golden Sword perspective, Toronado is a son of High Chaparral, the only stallion since his own sire Sadler’s Wells, to get six Group One winners from his first year at stud. Earlier this year, another High Chaparral progidy, It’s a Dundeel, swept the Australian Triple Crown, and now Europe is sitting with a star for the ages. Salutary news for those who were smart enough to get a mare to Golden Sword in his maiden season.